Blog – Declutter & Change

How to replace a limiting thought that keeps us stuck

Why we have to find the limiting thought that keeps us stuck before we can get rid of it

If we use mind-decluttering as the process to realise changes in our life – changes in the way we show up and behave so that we can achieve the results we actually want to have – we always start our work by searching for the current thought.

We need to know what we are currently thinking because our current thought causes what we are currently feeling. And, as we know from the Mind-Decluttering Model, our feelings create our our actions (what we do or not do) which finally create the results in our life.

However, we are thinking around 60,000 thoughts each day and most of them run around in our unconscious mind and come up on default – we don’t choose them deliberately, we are not even aware of them.

How can we uncover unconscious self-limiting thoughts?

In the Mind-Decluttering Model the result at the bottom of the model always refers back to the thought line in the model.

Mind-Decluttering Model

So if we struggle to discover our current thought, we can work our way back from the bottom to the top of the model.

EXAMPLE:

Let’s say I want to intensify my exercise-program and have decided to get up at 5 am twice a week so that I can go for a longer run bevor I have to leave the house.

But two weeks have gone by already and I didn’t get up earlier twice a week, I didn’t go for an early run.

I now fill in the Mind-Decluttering Model.

The circumstance line: Part of the new exercise plan is that I get up for an early run two times each week.

The thought line: ?

The feeling line: ?

The action line: I didn’t get up earlier twice a week during the past two weeks.

The result line: I don’t realise my exercise-plan.

So what’s the thought in this scenario?

Looking at the result line, I know that the thought is probably something like ‘it’s impossible to realise the exercise plan’.

And yes, that’s what it is, that’s what I am currently thinking: This is too hard. Getting up so early is too hard. I’ve never managed to get up so early. It’s impossible.

How do I feel when I am thinking these thoughts? I feel exhausted and incapable.

The on-default version of my Mind-Decluttering Model is complete:

The ON-DEFAULT mind-decluttering model

Now it’s clear why I am currently not able to realise my exercise-plan:

I’ve found the cause of the problem, my thoughtwhich means that I am now in the position to find the solution:

I have to find a better thought.

A thought that creates feelings and actions that serve me better in this situation.

What do I need to think about getting up early twice a week so that I feel capable and strong instead of exhausted and incapable?

I experiment with a few ideas of useful thoughts and finally come up with this: Of course getting up early is hard and feels uncomfortable at first. But that’s not a problem. I can do uncomfortable things if I want to. I’ll do this!

Thinking this makes me feel strong and capable. And feeling strong and capable helps me do what I wanted to do: get up early – although it feels uncomfortable – and go running twice a week before I leave to go to work. 

The result? I prove to myself that I can do hard things and realise my exercise-plan!

This is an overview of the final on-purpose model:

The ON-PURPOSE mind-decluttering model

This example demonstrates one of the many ways we can try to find our current thoughts and then a better – more useful and effective – thought.

Yes, applying the Mind-Decluttering Model as a tool to realise desired changes in our life takes effort and time.

But it’s worth it – If we do it properly, the process of letting go of limiting thoughts and moving on with new powerful thoughts always delivers the results we want to achieve.

WHAT ABOUT YOU?

What are the changes your want to make in your life? Which thoughts might have kept you from realising the desired changes? Which thoughts could you practice thinking instead?

LET’S TALK:

Take the first step of your mind- (and life-) decluttering journey today.

Schedule your free coaching session

How to declutter feelings of worry

The purpose of the ‘Powerful Questions Series’ is to help us open up our mind to new possibilities and development options.

CLICK HERE to get inspired by the questions we have discussed in this series so far.

The main problem with worry is that it’s not a very useful feeling.

Worrying – usually about things that might happen in the future and are outside of our control – is not helpful and often makes us feel helpless. And it doesn’t help us change what we worry about.

Thus, it might be a good idea to decide to stop worrying, or at least to reduce the amount of worry we are willing to feel.

If we want to ‘delete’ feelings of worry, we first have to uncover worry-producing thoughts in our mind.

We can ask ourselves:

  • What am I thinking right now that makes me feel worried?

Then, we can start to search for new thoughts – different ways to think about the current or potential future circumstances and developments.

A more helpful question is:

  • What would I be thinking if I didn’t worry about this?

EXAMPLE:

This is the future event I am currently feeling worried about:

We have invited some friends for dinner on Saturday. We will be sitting outside in the backyard. It’s getting colder in the evenings.

What am I thinking right now that makes me feel worried?

I am worried because I am thinking: Our friends might get cold and feel uncomfortable the whole time. This would spoil the evening.

What would I be thinking if I didn’t worry about this?

I wouldn’t worry if I was thinking: Our friends know the weather condition and will bring a warm sweater along. And we have lots of blankets to keep them warm. We’ll have a nice evening.


CLICK HERE to read more about the background of our worries and to find some inspiration for worry-dissolving thoughts.

Thinking better makes life better

The purpose of the ‘Powerful Questions Series’ is to help us open up our mind to new possibilities and development options.

CLICK HERE to get inspired by the questions we have discussed in this series so far.

If we want to make changes in our life, we have to make changes in our thinking – because our thinking determines our life experience:

Our thoughts create our feelings, which fuel our actions, which create the results in our life.

Before we can think about changing our thoughts, we need to become aware of what we are actually thinking.

The mind-decluttering model (based on ‘The Model’, The Life Coach School) is a great took that we use in coaching and self-coaching to gain greater awareness of what’s going on in our mind. (CLICK HERE to learn more about the mind-decluttering process, OR HERE to read about the similarities of mental and physical clutter.)

Whenever a result in our life is not what we want it to be, whenever we don’t feel or act as we want to, we can ask ourselves powerful awareness-creating questions like these:

  • What’s going on in my mind right now?
  • What am I thinking?
  • Does it serve me?
  • How does it make me feeling?
  • And acting?
  • Do I like the results created by my thoughts, feelings, and actions?

TIP 

It’s always good to write down the questions and our answers.

We get a clearer view into our mind and a better understanding of our thinking if we ‘take everything out’ and put it on paper.  

If you wish to work with an experienced ‘awareness-creation’ partner, you could consider to try out some coaching:

Take the first step of your mind- (and life-) decluttering journey today.

Schedule your free coaching session

Living WITH purpose or living ON purpose?

“Those with meaning in life are happier and healthier than those without it.”

(Dr Dilip Jeste, University of California, San Diego)


An increasing number of studies in various scientific fields point out that there is a close relationship between the presence of meaning in life and a higher level of physical and mental wellbeing

That’s nothing new, of course. Most of us probably share the view that searching for and finding a purpose in life can have significant positive effects on our health and wellbeing.

Living with purpose – What does this actually mean?

Do you know your purpose? Do you have a vision for your life?

If these questions feel a bit overwhelming, or confusing, or uncomfortable – relax!

Our thoughts about life’s purpose don’t have to be complicated.

We can decide that it’s not necessary to dive deep into philosophical or spiritual or scientific discussions.

The definition of ‘purpose’ could be as clear, simple, and practical as this one:

The purpose of life is living on purpose.

In this understanding, living our purpose means deliberately assigning a meaning to our life and to who we are and what we (want to) do while we are here on this planet.

Living on purpose means living intentionally.

It’s deliberately thinking, feeling, and doing what we want to think, feel, and do – so it’s the opposite of living on default or autopilot.

It requires us to know and honour what matters to us – what we most value in our life, what we feel passionate about, and what we think and appreciate about ourselves.

Living on purpose provides us with clarity, guidance and direction. It takes away confusion or frustration, instead it gives us something to work towards.

Living on purpose also creates inspiration and motivation – so we get the energy and passion we need to move forward.

How can you find out how living with/on purpose could look like for you?

The following exercises intend to help you develop your very personal and individual idea of purpose, so that you can apply in your life to give it direction and meaning.

You can go through all the excises or just choose one or two.

EXERCISE 1 – Ask your future self

Most of us have an idea of our life’s purpose inside of us – whether we’re consciously aware of it or not.

Getting some input from our future self can help us become more aware of what purpose means to us.

Lean back and imagine your future self celebrating her 90th birthdaycompletely happy and proudly looking back over her life.

Take a piece of paper and a pen, and allow yourself some quiet time to think about the story of your life from her – your future self’s – point of view.

You can start by letting your future self answer questions like these:

  1. How do you describe yourself? What story do you tell about yourself?
  2. What do you think and feel about yourself?
  3. What do you especially like about your life? About yourself?
  4. What is it about you that the people at your birthday party truly value?
  5. What have you achieved in your life? Which challenges have you overcome? What are you particularly proud of?
  6. What added meaning to your life and gives you a sense of fulfillment?
  7. What did you enjoy most in your life?
  8. If you consider the most important areas in your life – how do you think and feel about them, now looking back at them at this point in life? Have a closer look at:
  • your relationships (partner, family members, friends, colleagues, …),
  • your work/career,
  • your health and fitness,
  • your home,
  • your finances,
  • your leisure and community activities,
  • your …

EXERCISE 2 – Create a vision for your future

It is very important to ensure that our short term and long term goals fit into the bigger perspective of our life.

This exercise helps you understand the bigger picture of your life. As soon as you have a clearer idea – a vision – of your life, you’ll find it much easier to articulate and prioritise your short and long term goals and to develop action plans.  

Where do you ultimately want to get to in your life?

Imagine there were no obstacles and you had a magic wand and could create whatever you wanted.

What do you want to be doing / how do you want to be living / who do you want to be

  • at the end of your life
  • 20 years from now
  • 10 years from now
  • 5 years from now
  • 1 year from now

EXERCISE 3 – Create a 3-month vision board

This simple exercise helps you identify what meaningful short-term changes your want to make in your life across different life-areas.

Allow yourself 30 to 60 minutes to consider the following questions to help you create your personal vision for the next 3 months.

Write your answers in the present tense, and be as specific as you can.

A) How do you want your life to be different in 3 months time?

Write below which changes (if any) you wish to make in the important areas of your life within the next 3 months:

  • your relationships (partner, family members, friends, colleagues, …),
  • your work/career,
  • your health and fitness,
  • your home,
  • your finances,
  • your leisure and community activities,
  • your …

B) What is the most important change/goal your want to realise over the next 3 months?

C) If you have achieved this important change – how will your ‘ideal day’ look like in 3 months from now? What will be different compared to today? What are you thinking and feeling, what are you doing (or not doing), etc.

EXERCISE 4 – 3 little powerful questions

If you prefer to focus on just a few questions that can help you get a clearer idea of the priorities in your life you could consider these:

  • What are you currently excited about in your life?
  • What does it mean to you to have a full and rich life?
  • How could you have more fun and joy in your life?

You will probably not arrive at a final definition of your personal idea of living on purpose just by doing some little exercises.

But anything that’s helping us finding our priorities in life will make it easier to move forward in a meaningful and intentional way.

In one of the next articles we will discuss why we need to understand and honour our personal values if we want to live on purpose. 


Exercise 1 (see above) suggests to imagine your future self and what she would be answering if you asked her about the purpose of/in your life. 

The free guide (pdf-file) ‘Talk to your future self’ explains the idea of our future self and how she can help us living our life successfully in more detail. 

Click on the image to download the free guide to your future self.

How to talk to your future self

Our obstacle-thoughts are the signposts that guide us to our goals

If we set ourselves a goal – a certain outcome we want to achieve, a change we want to make, a habit we want to create – we need an action plan.

We need to know the steps it takes to get us from here to where we want to be.

Very often our mind tries to make action planning difficult.

We come up with the idea for a goal and we are all in, and then our mind gets nervous and says, ‘Wait a sec. You think you can do this? Are you kidding? There is no way you can achieve this. Just drop the idea and save yourself the disappointment.’

This is a normal and natural reaction of our mind. It’s its job to keep us safe and out of danger. Our mind wants to avoid any risks, that’s why it doesn’t like change and wants to keep things as they are.

It is important to listen to our mind.

We need to become aware of the thoughts that come up with regard to our goal: All thoughts – the supportive ones and also the ones that try to talk us out of pursuing our desired goals.

So, yes, we need to listen to our mind but we always should remind ourselves that we don’t need to follow its recommendations.

We don’t have to do what our mind wants us to do (or not to do).

Our thoughts are just sentences in our mind and they are optional. We can always decide what we want to think.

We don’t have to believe our mind’s objections, instead we can use them to help us define the steps we need to take to achieve our goal.

As soon as we notice all the fearful, pessimistic, critical, judgemental, and other negative thoughts, we can decide to see them not as obstacles on the way to our goal but as helpful signposts that can guide us.

We take a closer look at all the objections our mind offers, and we develop a strategy how to overcome each of them. These strategies then become the main elements of our goal-achievement action plan.

EXAMPLE:

Goal: I want to lose 4 pounds during this month.

Obstacle-Thought Number 1 – Losing weight is hard and frustrating and I tend to quit when things become frustrating.

  • Obstacle-overcoming Thought Number 1 – I expect and accept feelings of frustration to come up. They are part of the process and not a big issue. I am going to be frustrated, yes, and that’s o.k. (It’s better than being frustrated because I weigh too much!)

Obstacle-Thought Number 2 – I tried to lose weight in the past and it never worked out.

  • Obstacle-overcoming Thought Number 2 – The past is irrelevant, it has nothing to do with what I am capable of achieving in the future. I plan to focus on the visualisation of my future self, the person who knows how to lose weight and always sticks to her plans.

Obstacle-Thought Number 3 – I am afraid that I will not stick to the eating plan and that I will feel like a hopeless looser if I fail.

  • Obstacle-overcoming Thought Number 3 – Of course I will fail, failure is part of the path to success. That’s no problem. I’ll learn from each failure and move on with new energy.

Etc.

As we can see in this example, the action plan consists of a list of supportive and powerful thoughts that help us take action whenever our mind comes up with obstacle-thoughts.

The toolbox of helpful thoughts will look different for each of us, even if we pursue the same goal.

We are all unique personalities and our minds are very unique as well. And so are our obstacle thoughts and our strategies to overcome them.

We have to invest some time to listen carefully to our mind, so that we can see our very own obstacle-thoughts.

Then we get well prepared with the help of a well-designed obstacle-overcoming action plan:

We assign at least one strong supportive thought to each obstacle-thought, so that we are well equipped when our mind comes up with objections (and it will!) while we are moving towards our goal.

Now it’s your turn!

  • Choose a goal you want to achieve.
  • Then list all the obstacle-thoughts that your mind will probably immediately offer to you. Don’t push them away, don’t judge them, just take a closer look.
  • Now get creative and start to compile your toolbox of obstacle-overcoming thoughts.
  • And then make sure that you have these supportive thoughts always close by, that you study and remember them every day – so that your mind can get used to them and begins to accept them as your new truth.

You will soon notice that the old obstacle-thoughts lose their power and how your new thoughts help you move forward towards your goal.  


Your future self knows exactly what steps you need to take to reach your goals.

You can rely on her in so many ways, and she’ll also help you uncover and overcome your obstacle thoughts.

Just talk to her. 🙂

How to talk to your future self

Why we need failure on our way to success

Our failures can help us become more successful

If we set ourselves goals, there is always the risk that we don’t reach them, that we fail.

And what we often do, because of that ‘risk’ of failure – we pull back. We let go of that goal completely or we make it smaller, easier to achieve.

There is nothing wrong with this as long as we feel happy and content about the achievement of those smaller easier goals.

If, however, we feel dissatisfied, disappointed, frustrated, if we cannot truly enjoy the results we currently have, we might want to have a closer look at our fear of failure that holds us back from working on big(ger) goals.

Some time ago, we talked about How to fail successfully’ (click here to read more).

We discussed that the only reason why we try our very best to avoid failure is because we try to avoid the bad feelings we expect to show up if we miss our expectations and desired results.

And that the only reason why we connect bad feelings with failure is because we have negative thoughts about failing.

We are the ones who decide what failure means to us.

Unfortunately, we very often decide to think about failed expectations in a negative way, in a way that creates negative feelings like disappointment, shame, pain.

The recommendation in the article mentioned above was to deliberately start getting good at failing by doing it often and by appreciating failures as learning opportunities.

Today we want to discuss the second suggestion a bit deeper: deliberately using the learning and growth potential of failures.

Imagine you would always win.

You would achieve all the goals you set yourself and create any results you wanted to have. No matter what you did it was a success.

No challenges and obstacles to overcome, no difficulties to move out of the way, no two steps forward and one backward, always all expectation met.

Wouldn’t that be boring?

Not only boring but probably even awful. Because winning effortlessly all the time would also mean:

no opportunities for self-development and growth, no need for experimenting, no innovation and new – and potentially better – ways to approach things and move forward.

Failure has much to offer

Most of us don’t want to spend time with our failures. Instead, we want to move on and forget about ‘what went wrong’.

But we can learn so much from our failures – if we take the time and effort to understand what they want to tell us.

We can decide on purpose to use any failure as a neutral (not negative!) source of information, offering valuable insights and ideas for innovation.

Three powerful questions to create success from failure

(Source: Stacey Boehman, 2k program)

  1. What worked?
  2. What didn’t work?
  3. What am I going to do differently?

Let’s have a look how this works.

EXERCISE

Decide to invest some time to really evaluate a failure experience. Sit down and take out a piece of paper and a pen.

Step 1 – Choose a recent failure that you want to evaluate

Think about your recent failures. And pick one. It could be something small or big.

For example: You didn’t get the job you applied for. A prospect didn’t become a client. You lost a tennis match. The sweater you knitted doesn’t fit. You yelled at you kids at dinner although you wanted be patient and relaxed. You didn’t achieve your weight loss goals. The weekend trip with your mother-in-law was a disaster.

Step 2 – Start working on the first question: What worked?

You mind might want to immediately offer answers to the questions why it didn’t work – ignore it for now.

It is important to start with thinking about what worked because that brings you to a more positive place and makes you open to the insights that can be gained.

List everything that went well. Every little thing. Don’t let yourself off the hook, keep writing. What did you do well? Which actions you took were effective? What helpful thoughts did you have? What useful beliefs did you create? What ideas? List anything that brought you in the intended direction.

Step 3 – Now answer the second question: What didn’t work?

Try to be open and curious, and non-judgemental. Keep the list as neutral as possible, avoid negative adjectives. This is just about creating an inventory of the things (actions and thoughts) that didn’t work out, it’s not about collecting accusations.

Which thoughts or beliefs got into your way and kept you from doing what had to be done? In which ways didn’t you show up like you wanted? Did you lack certain skills or necessary knowledge? Etc.

Step 4 – Finally think about this: What are you going to do differently?

Based on your answers to the other two questions you can now make a plan and list what you want to do differently in future.

This step is vital for our development and our future successes, but most of us don’t do it – because we are so eager to get away from the failure experience.

What you are going to do differently is your new roadmap. Even if your next goal is different from this missed one, you will still benefit from what you learned here if you make a plan how to apply it in your next project. 


“We think we fail and go backward. We only go back when we give up. When you fail, you’re moving forward.” (Brooke Castillo)


Your future self has a very compassionate and understanding opinion about you.

You can rely on her in so many ways, and she’ll also help you learn and benefit from your failures.

Just talk to her. 🙂

How to talk to your future self

A powerful question to open up your mind – What do you want to feel?

The purpose of the ‘Powerful Questions Series’ is to help us open up our mind to new possibilities and development options.

CLICK HERE to get inspired by the questions we have discussed in this series so far.

Don’t let your mind run on default – Use powerful questions to direct your thinking.

In the first article of the new ‘Powerful Questions Series’ we talked about the tendency of our mind to always focus on the bad, difficult, negative parts of our daily life experience – if we allow it to run on default.

We also discussed how we can use powerful positive questions to counter the negative and limiting tendencies of our mind and open it up to the opportunities and possibilities that our life has to offer.

Questioning our current thinking can help us become more aware of the effects our current thoughts have on our feelings, actions and results. It becomes easier to consider new and potentially better ways of thinking.

The powerful question in Part 1 of the series was, ‘ How do I want to feel just now?’

It’s a very helpful question and we should definitely keep it in our toolbox of mind-empowering questions. We can take it out whenever we are in a situation where we wish to actively take control of what we are feeling in that specific moment.

A similar question that can serve us very well is

‘What do I want my top feeling to be today?’

The purpose of this question is to give our thoughts and feelings a clear direction for the whole day, not just for the current moment/situation.

Asking ourselves what we want to feel helps us remember ourselves that we don’t have to feel whatever comes up.

Our thoughts create our feelings. And we can always decide what we want to think about the circumstances in our life. If we don’t like how we feel, we can explore what we would have to think to feel the way we want to.  

DAILY EXERCISE

  • Take a few minutes in the morning and think about the day that has just started.
  • Consider the activities and tasks you are going to do, the people you are going to meet or get in contact with, the things that might come up during the day, etc.
  • Then choose the top feeling for the day. How do you want to feel throughout the day, not matter what exactly is going to happen or not to happen?
  • Choose just one feeling as your favourite feeling and decide to give that one feeling your full attention and support during the day.
  • Find ways to remind yourself of the chosen feeling at different times of the day, and in different situations. (Write it on post-its, put it in your calendar, send yourself an email and put it in the subject line, set the timer on your mobile phone to remind you regularly, …)
  • And the following morning, when you choose the top feeling for the new day, take a few minutes to evaluate your experiences with the top feeling of the day before.

The answer to the question about the desired top feeling is probably totally different for each of us. It might also be a different one for you each day, depending on your specific situation and plans at that time.

On some days your favourite feeling might be ‘confidence’. Or ‘peacefulness’? On another day it might be ‘courage’. Or ‘strong’? Or ‘excited’? ‘Curious’? ‘Loving’? ‘Compassion’?

You choose. You just pick the feeling that seems to be best for that time being. And then you stick to it, for the whole day.

Other feelings might come up, don’t judge them but don’t let them take over, just redirect your attention to your top feeling, and explore what you want to think in order to create that feeling.

Enjoy your day and your top feeling!


The purpose of the ‘Powerful Questions Series’ is to help us open up our mind to new possibilities and development options.

CLICK HERE to get inspired by the questions we have discussed in this series so far.

The Feeling-Better Self-Coaching Program is a free online course

The program consists of 3 easy exercises that we do over the course of 12 days to clear up our mind and our home

Two of the exercises are all about asking powerful questions to initiate positive chance. 

Click below if you wish to practice and experience the power of powerful questions: 

How we can balance the negative in our life with the positive – and feel better

A little question to open up our mind when life feels (too) hard

Life is 50:50

The thought that our life experience is and will always be 50:50 – 50% positive and 50% negative – can be very helpful, especially at times when we feel a bit overwhelmed by the demands and challenges that our daily life throws at us.

It can be a relief to deliberately remind ourselves that ‘there are two sides to every coin’ and that ‘every cloud has a silver lining’.

But how can we flip the coin so that we can see the positive side

  • when everything just seems to be so dark, and dull, and hard?
  • When our intellectual knowledge about the power of positive thoughts doesn’t help us at all because we just can’t find anything positive to think about?

A little two-step exercise to shift the focus of our mind from negative to positive

Step 1: We accept our ‘dark’ thoughts and feelings, we no longer fight or resist them.

We decide to stop feeling bad about feeling bad. We allow ourselves to experience the negative thoughts that our human mind tends to bring up in challenging times.

Being human is not easy all the time, as we all know. Being human includes that we sometimes think and feel that life is too hard, that we experience some days or periods in our life as dark and painful. And that’s okay. We don’t always have to try to change it, we can decide to just accept it as it currently is.

Step 2: We open up our mind by asking ourselves: What else is true? (Source: April Price)

As we no longer have to argue with our mind about the hard parts of our life and we no longer have to resist the negative thoughts and feelings it brings up, we gain mental space and new energy to now say, ‘Yes, okay, this is hard. But what else is true?’ What does the other side of the coin look like? Where is the silver lining?

This little exercise can very quickly help us

  • redirect our attention to the positive things in our life (which are always there, and always make up 50%),
  • without denying or suppressing the negative parts of our current experience (which are always there, yes, but make up only 50%).

Example

My four sisters live in Germany, far away from me. They currently feel frustrated and sometimes isolated and lonely because of all the Covid-restrictions and regulations. I often think of them, I worry a lot about them, I feel sorry for them, and sad.

How can I use the little exercise to make things feel better?

Step 1: I accept my thoughts and feelings.

Okay, that’s how it is at the moment. I believe that life is difficult and hard for my sisters right now. The consequence is that I have thoughts that make me feel sad about/for them. And that’s okay. No need to force myself to think/feel better about it.

Step 2: I ask myself, ‘What else is true’

I list all the answers that come to my mind:

My sisters are more connected to each other now because they are all in the same situation. They have more empathy and understanding for each other. They help and support each other. They are all strong and capable to cope with this situation and they will get even stronger because of it. They are all doing comparatively well – they are healthy, have their families around, have their jobs/enough money.

At the end of this little exercise I still feel sad – and that’s okay – but I also feel calmer and less worried.

Give it a try – Create a balance of positive and negative

What’s a situation that you are experiencing as negative or hard, that you have ‘dark’ thoughts and feelings of worry or sadness about?

Could it be helpful to you

  • to first deliberately accept these thoughts and feelings, and then
  • to ask, ‘What else is true about this situation?’

Why it is so important to ask our mind the right questions

The purpose of the ‘Powerful Questions Series’ is to help us open up our mind to new possibilities and development options.

CLICK HERE to get inspired by the questions we have discussed in this series so far.

Our mind is the most powerful tool we have – if we learn how to use it properly.

If we don’t pay close attention to our mind it will do what it is used to do and good at – and that’s constantly looking out for danger and risks that could jeopardise our well-being.

As long as our mind runs on autopilot it’s in survival mode.

  • In order to keep us alive and safe it pays close attention to the bad things, to the things that are wrong with us and with the world.
  • It wants us to feel afraid of the things outside and it wants us to doubt our abilities, so we don’t go out and get in dangerous situations.
  • It wants us to keep things as they are and it doesn’t want us to change because trying to do new things or walking into unknown areas could be risky.

So if we let it do what it wants to do, our brain will bring up a lot of negative thoughts and limiting self-talk. And as we have seen, it does so on purpose and with good intentions.

Understanding the reason behind the negative and limiting tendencies of our mind is the first step if we want to take control of our life. Because understanding it makes it easier for us to realise that this is just the way our mind automatically works – if it’s left on its own. It’s not the only way.

We can decide to no longer let our mind run on default. We can take our power back by telling our mind that it’s no longer in charge, that it can relax and calm down because now we will take the lead and tell it what to do and where to go.  

We can use powerful questions to guide our mind in the right direction.

One of the various ways to take control and to use our mind as a powerful positive life-management tool is to ask the right questions.

When we ask ourselves powerful questions, our mind opens up and answers with powerful and positive thoughts.

It shifts toward constructing better thought patterns than it was used to bring up on default. Thinking better makes us feel better. And when we feel better, we are better able to take the necessary actions that allow us to create the results we want to have in our life.

An example of a powerful question: ‘How do I want to feel just now?’

During the course of the ‘Feeling-Better Self-Coaching Program’ (read more) we focus on one powerful question each day – and we make sure that we find powerful answers.

The purpose is to create greater awareness of what we are thinking and feeling during the day.

It also helps us to define the feelings we want to feel, and to find the thoughts we need to think to create those feelings.

We experiment with several powerful questions during the course of the 12-day-program.

However, in the beginning we focus on just one question:

“How do I want to feel just now?”.

INSTRUCTIONS

  • Sit down every morning, think about the question for a few minutes, then write down your answer.
  • Don’t forget to also think about the question several times during the day. Ask yourself at different times of the day and in different situations how you want to feel right in that moment. 
  • Make it easy to remember the question during the day, by writing it on several post-its which you distribute around your place, for example, or by putting it into your calendar, setting an alarm, etc. 
  • Invest 2 or 3 minutes in the evening to consider and write down how the exercise worked out for you. How often did you think about the question? Did it help you to define how you wanted to feel? Did it help you to feel like you wanted to feel? How long did you feel the desired feeling?

For more information about the power of positive questions (and the negative effects of negative questions) CLICK HERE.

Our mind is not just a powerful tool. It’s a very trustworthy friend and supportive helper in our daily life – if we ask it the right questions.


The purpose of the ‘Powerful Questions Series’ is to help us open up our mind to new possibilities and development options.

CLICK HERE to get inspired by the questions we have discussed in this series so far.

The Feeling-Better Self-Coaching Program is a free online course

The program consists of 3 easy exercises that we do over the course of 12 days to clear up our mind and our home

Two of the exercises are all about asking powerful questions to initiate positive chance. 

Click below if you wish to practice and experience the power of powerful questions: 

Decluttering our home AND our mind makes starting something new easier

The benefits of a clutterfree life:

Letting go of the things and the thoughts that no longer serve us sets us free to move on with more order and space in our home and mind.


A clutterfree start is a better and easier start.

The beginning of a new phase in our life can be a great opportunity to give ourselves a general fresh start – creating more space, freedom and lightness in all areas of our life.

The start of a new year represents such a new beginning.

Other examples of new opportunities for a fresh start are:

  • Ending a relationship, or starting a new relationship
  • Renovating the house
  • Moving to a new place
  • Having a baby
  • Starting a new job
  • Entering retirement
  • Becoming an empty nester

These and other new beginnings become easier if we don’t burden them with the stuff of the past. We don’t want to take along what might hold us back in the new stage of our life.

It can be a relief to deliberately decide what no longer serves us and let it go before we move on.

So how can we organise and manage the decluttering of our life successfully?

How can we clear up our home AND our mind?

The three main steps of any decluttering project

are always the same –whether we declutter and organise our home or our mind:

STEP 1 – WE CLEAN OUT OUR HOME/OUR MIND AND GAIN AWARENESS OF WHAT WE HAVE.

We take everything out, we sort and categorise it. What are the things – what are the thoughts and the feelings – that serve us, and what are the ones that burden/hurt us?

STEP 2 – WE LET GO OF THE CLUTTER IN OUR HOME/MIND BY MAKING TOUGH DECISIONS.

We honour our values, needs, and goals by deliberately letting go of the things – and the thoughts/feelings – we no longer need/love/want to use.

STEP 3 – WE CREATE NEW ORDER IN OUR HOME/MIND BY TAKING MASSIVE ACTION.

We reorganise the things – and the thoughts/feelings – we want to keep in a way that serves us, and we move on with clarity, space, and lightness.


More detailed information and examples of decluttering projects can be found here:

HOME DECLUTTERING

Small-steps decluttering – The benefits of 20 minutes sessions – And how to organise them – CLICK TO READ

The ‘Small-steps-approach’ helps us to get started with decluttering – An example decluttering project. – CLICK TO READ

MIND DECLUTTERING

We are the owners of our mind – and the mental clutter – CLICK TO READ

How to declutter and organise our thoughts – CLICK TO READ


Enjoy the clutterfree start – whether it’s the beginning of a new year or of a new phase in your life.


The ‘Feeling-Better Self-Coaching Program’ offers 3 easy-to-do exercises over the course of 12 days to clear up your mind and your home.

CLICK HERE to learn more about the ‘Feeling-Better Program’.

The secret of self-confidence – Our willingness to experience any emotion

Self-confidence is a skillset we need to build up and practice

We often think that self-confidence is something that we either have or don’t have.

But confidence is not something that we are born with, it’s not a special talent or gift.

In fact, confidence is an emotion and – as all our emotions – self-confidence is created by our thinking:

The quality and level of our self-confidence depends on our mind – on our thoughts about our capabilities and on our trust in ourselves, and in our willingness to do what we want to do – whatever the consequences of our actions might be.

Where do trustful thoughts about ourselves come from?

It’s easy to think confident thoughts when we have already accomplished something.

And we usually think that we feel confident because we have done it so often, because we have the experience of doing it.

But confidence doesn’t come from doing something many times. It’s just easier to think the thought, ‘I can do that’, when we have done it many times.

Whenever we want to do something we have never done before, we need to feel confident about our ability to do it before we start doing it.

And that’s not so easy most of the time.

We all know from our own experience in different areas of our lives that a lack of self-confidence can keep us from taking action, from doing what we want to do and from trying new things.

So how can we deliberately create the thought, ‘I can do that’, and then feel confident before we do it?

The main secret to self-confidence is our willingness to experience any emotion.

As human beings we are mostly afraid of the emotion that we expect to feel if we fail.

We are afraid that if we take action and fail at what we are trying to do, we will feel inadequate, humiliated, embarrassed, defeated, … .

If we deliberately decide to be willing to experience any emotion, if we are getting good at feeling any feeling, then we will have self-confidence in everything we do.

The worst that can happen is a negative feeling – and as soon as we know that we can handle any negative feelings, we no longer lack self-confidence.

Two ways to increase our self-confidence

Strategy 1 – Practicing self-confidence producing thoughts

This strategy is quite simple and it can easily be integrated in our daily life.

We first create a list of helpful thoughts – thoughts that support confidence-feelings.

And then we just practice thinking them daily – and particularly when we feel hesitant to take action and do something new.

Some examples:

  • What others think about me is 100% about them, it has nothing to do with me.
  • Fear is no big deal.
  • The worst that can happen is a feeling. I am good at feeling any feeling.
  • Failure earns success. The more I fail, the faster I’ll succeed.
  • The better I fail, the more confident I become.
  • What I make it mean is the worst that can happen.
  • I am willing to do the stuff I am scared of. Again and again.
  • Self-confidence is a skill. I am determined to become an expert at feeling self-confident.
  • I am willing to experience discomfort consistently in order to be more self-confident.
  • (Add thoughts that will help you to feel more confident.)

Strategy 2 – Experiencing failure, on purpose

The ‘Dare of the Day’ Exercise (Source: The Life Coach School)

This exercise helps us getting good at doing things that we are scared of because we fear the negative feelings that might come up while we are doing those things or if we fail at finishing them successfully.

The ‘Dare of the Day’ is a challenging exercise but it can also be a lot of fun. And it’s a confidence booster.

Step 1 – Commit yourself to do a ‘Dare of the day’, each day, for 30 days, starting today.

Step 2 – Create a list of ‘Dares of the day’.

Do some brainstorming and write down all the things – big and small – that you don’t feel comfortable doing:

  • Things that you are scared to do for some reason.
  • Things that you always wanted to do but never did (because of fear of failure?).
  • Things that you never considered to do but that might be interesting and offering new experiences and results in your life.
  • Things that allow you to experiment with uncomfortable feelings.
  • Things that are just fun – but a bit scary.

Examples:

  • Go up to a stranger and ask for something.
  • Give someone a compliment who doesn’t expect it.
  • Ask for the day off.
  • Say no when the other person expects a yes.
  • Say yes when the other person expects a no.
  • Ask for a pay raise, or a promotion.
  • Speak in public.
  • Smile at a grumpy stranger.
  • Wear a sexy outfit.
  • Cry in public if you feel like crying.
  • Laugh hysterically in public if you feel like laughing.
  • Ask for a discount.
  • Go on a blind date.
  • Ask someone a huge favour.
  • Offer your help to a stranger.
  • Give your unfriendly neighbour some flowers.
  • Book your first golf lesson.
  • Get up an hour earlier.
  • Come late to an important meeting.
  • Don’t apologize when you are late.
  • Call a family member you haven’t talked to for a long time.
  • Write a letter to apologize for something you feel bad about.
  • Get a new haircut.
  • Ask your dinner guests to go when you are tired.
  • (Add all the things that scare you – they will help you to grow.)

Play around with as many ideas as possible. You can add to your list whenever new ideas come up.

 “The more outrageous your dare, the more self-confident you will be. The point is to get really good at doing scary things.” (Brooke Castillo)

Step 3 – Each morning, you pick your ‘Dare of the Day’ for that day. And then you do it.

And learn from it.

The best way to do so is to write about it before and after: Why is this thing a dare for you? What are you thinking and feeling before your do it? What are your thoughts and feelings after you did it?

Step 4 – Don’t miss a day for 30 days in a row.

And don’t forget to have fun. Enjoy the process of getting more and more confident. Each ‘Dare of the Day’ will make you stronger.

Tip – You could share this exercise with a family member or friend. Having an accountability partner can help you ‘dare the dares’. And it’s also fun to share your experiences and learn from them together.

Now it’s your turn: 

What’s your ‘Dare of the Day’ – today?

Your mood booster – The 3 G’s – A little Christmas Gift for you

How to feel better, on purpose, here and now

Our brain’s main job is to keep us safe and alive.

That’s why our mind thinks it’s very important that we focus our attention and our thinking all the time on problems and obstacles, difficulties and risks, and potential danger.

But we don’t have to let our mind run on default. We can deliberately decide what type of thoughts we want to be thinking – which means we can also intentionally direct our feelings.

So if we are in ‘a bad mood’ and we want to change that, we can always go and look at the thoughts that are creating our mood and change them.

Changing our thoughts, however, is not always easy and it can take some time and energy.

But there are short cuts that can help us feel better faster. The application of ‘the 3 Gs’ is one of them. (Source: April Price)

The 3 Gs – Your immediate mood booster

This little self-coaching tool is easy to apply and you can use it anytime, anywhere to make you feel better almost immediately.

It causes your mind to refocus its attention on the positive – on what’s working, on the abundance of your life, and on what you want to create.

This is how it works:

Whenever you feel like your mood needs a boost, you ask yourself

  • G 1 – What’s good in my life today/just now?
  • G 2 – What am I particularly grateful for today/just now?
  • G 3 – What goal will make me feel excited today/just now?

EXAMPLE

I use the 3 Gs technique regularly in the early morning.

On many days, I don’t feel very energised and powerful when I wake up. Often, I feel weak and miserable – even if there is no obvious reason.

My strategy now is to give myself a few minutes to create a mood shift before I get out of the bed. I give my mind an early morning job to do. I ask it to focus its attention and to find answers to the question ‘What are my 3 Gs today?’

Today, for example, my mind and I came up with these answers:

  • G 1 – It’s Good that the client meeting in the afternoon has been cancelled – I can use the time to call my sister and share the latest news.
  • G 2 – I am Grateful that the arrival of our new puppy has now be confirmed for next Monday.
  • G 3 – This is the most exciting Goal on my to-do list today: Ordering toys online for the puppy.

Give it a try.

Take the idea of the 3 Gs along through your day, and then, when the need for a mood booster comes up, you asks your mind to find and focus on 3 attractive Gs.



Consider to give yourself a little Christmas gift by enrolling in the FREE ONLINE ‘Feeling-Better Self-Coaching Program’.

The 12-day program helps you think and feel better every day

Sign up and give your mood a regular boost: